Study: Women’s Rights Abuses Lead To High Maternal Mortality For Afghan Women
Widespread women’s rights violations are partly to blame for high maternal mortality rates in Afghan women, according to a study appearing in the September 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Physicians for Human Rights interviewed 4,886 women from the northwestern Afghan province of Herat. They estimated that 593 out of 100,000 Herati women die during pregnancy or childbirth. Countrywide, Afghan maternal mortality rates are the second highest in the world (Sierra Leone is highest) with 1,700 deaths out of 100,000 Afghan pregnancies compared to 12 out of 100,000 in the US.
Study Author Dr. Lynn Amowitz explained that trained professionals and medical facilities and supplies are scarce, plus many roads are inaccessible in the war-ravaged nation. In Herat, 35 physicians serve a population of 793,214. No hospitals exist in 20 of Afghanistan’s 31 provinces. Amowitz also cited the lack of women’s rights in hindering women’s access to medical care and family planning. In some cases, husbands force their wives to deliver in their own homes, because the culture considers treatment by strangers in public places “shameful.” “What appears to be simply a public health catastrophe in Herat Province also speaks to the many years of denial and deprivation of women’s rights in Afghanistan,” Amowitz said in a statement.
In addition, the study also noted that 80 percent of the women interviewed considered sex with their husbands obligatory. Nearly half said that a husband had the right to physically abuse his wife for disobedience.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .